Sunday, August 6, 2017

The Water Jars Of Heaven

Hiroshima And Nagasaki!

By Edward Kofi Louis

Noodles of choice and breakfast for all!
But, where is the way to the dwelling of the light?
For, it matters to me when, the mountain goats give birth.

Hiroshima and Nagasaki!
But, when man dies, he is laid away;
Like the water jars of the heavens when,
The 'Caravan of Tema' Looks for water.

Life and the history of mankind on this earth!
Of the hangings of white and blue linen;
To the year of the dog and of the year of the mouse! 
But, can a papyrus grow without marsh?

Hiroshima and Nagasaki!
It is time to be together once again;
And like a higher Tower to fulfill the muse of love,
But, we still remember the days of the bombs.

Hiroshima and Nagasaki!
Does the wild donkey bray when it has grass? 
Then, let us all live in peace on this earth today,
For, life is like mosaic pavements of alabaster.


  1. What interested me about this particular poem was that rather than being a conventional poem, it is a collage of Hiroshima/Nagasaki references juxtaposed with a series of Biblical quotations. From the Bible:

    Where is the way to the dwelling of light, and where is the place of darkness –Job 38:19

    When do mountain goats and deer give birth? Have you been there when their young are born? –Job 39:1

    But a man dies and is laid low; man breathes his last, and where is he? –Job 14:10

    Who can count the clouds by wisdom, or tip the water jars of the heavens –Job 38:37

    The caravans of Tema look for water, the traveling merchants of Sheba look in hope. –Job 6:19

    There were hangings of fine white and violet linen held by cords of fine purple linen on silver rings and marble columns, and couches of gold and silver on a mosaic pavement of porphyry, marble, mother-of-pearl and precious stones. –Esther 1:6

    Can the papyrus grow up without a marsh? Can the rushes grow without water? –Job 8:11

    Does a wild donkey bray when it has grass, or an ox bellow when it has fodder? –Job 6:5

    Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. –Hebrews 12:14

  2. To me it makes no sense at all, even when MD explains the sources.

    1. Of course, many poems do not make logical sense in the same way as conventional prose does. Much of art, music and poetry is nakedly ambiguous and intentionally open to interpretation. That is the nature of art and is just as true for bad art as it is for great art.

      I make no claim that this is a great poem, only that it is "thought-provoking".

      The snippets of Bibical quotations from the Book of Job are part of a long meditation comparing the puny power of man to the unlimited power of God. What is a mere atomic bomb next to the tremendous majesty of God?

      The quotation from the opening verses of the Book of Esther describes the beauties of the court of a great Persian king.
      Later in the story the Persian King too finds himself being moved and manipulated by the will of God.

      The quotation from the Book of Hebrews is clearly a plea for peace.

      The other parts of the poem refer to a time of plentifulness, remembrance of a great tragedy (days of the bombs) etc.

      Not a great poem, perhaps, but interesting I think.

  3. "The death penalty saves a lot of lives." - - Nancy Reagan.

    The atomic bombs saved a lot of lives too. That is so funny. Dark humor I think they call it.

    1. The atomic bombs that were dropped on Japan ended the war and clearly saved a lot of American lives. I also take the position that the bombs, by ending the war so quickly, saved many more Japanese lives.

      Those who disagree with my point of view take two basic counter-positions. 1. The Japanese were about to surrender anyway and thus the atomic bombs were unnecessary overkill or 2. Nothing can justify the bombings, even if they did save lives.

      As to #1, there is no real evidence that the Japanese were about to surrender and much evidence to the contrary.

      As to #2, the Americans who DID NOT DIE invading Japan and their surviving families would probably disagree.

      But clearly the atomic bombs did not save lives in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. And although many Japanese enthusiastically supported the Japanese war effort, many of the Atomic casualties were innocent children who clearly did not deserve to die.

      War is truly Hell.

    2. The Japanese were ready to surrender. BUT WITH TERMS UNACCEPTABLE TO THE ALLIES. Maintain their overseas colonies, keep a military, not be occupied, no war crime trials, etc. Terms unacceptable.

    3. The Allies had learned their lesson against Germany--an enemy that is not utterly conquered is an enemy that will rise again with a vengeance.

      As William Sherman famously said: War is all hell.